Lost in Havana Premiers in Holland & Canada

Lost in Havana Premiers in Holland & Canada

 In our March 2016 Buyer’s Guide we showcased a story about Kebbek Skateboards bringing 100 completes to Cuba. This was no easy feat and a new documentary about this extra-ordinary experience is premiering early next month in Toronto and Den Haag. We had an opportunity to chat with the founder of Kebbek, Ian Comishin and get some more background on the documentary. This is actually the second major film on skateboarding that Ian has been involved with. For a truly mesmerizing look at the world of a skate tour, you must take a look at “Hicks on Sticks. The trailer for that 2012 film can be found here. Lost in Havana was produced by Warren Lane Films (the same company who produced (Hicks on Sticks). The film was written, filmed and edited by Soren Johnstone. It is narrated by Mike Carter and features Juergen Gritzner, Betty Esperanza, Kalie Racine and Yojani Perez. “No company in history has ever tried to bring 100 complete boards to Cuba as a donation” says Ian. “Soren wanted to capture this historical moment and to try and get inside the experience of those involved in the donation.” I asked Ian if there was a particular message in the film that will resonate with viewers. “Skateboarding and bureaucracy don’t tend to tangle too well. Good intentions and vanity can sometimes be a blurry line. Cuba is freakishly amazing.”

The film was first shown in Slovenia and met with very positive reviews. “The audience was both stunned and inspired” says Ian. They were also stoked and saddened.  Initially, the documentary will be spread though international film festivals and premiers like the ones in Canada and the Netherlands.   

Bustin Boards and Brett Novak

Bustin Boards and Brett Novak

 Bustin Boards is proud to present a premier video collaboration between legendary filmmaker Brett Novak and the skate everything talents of Bustin Boards rider William Royce. Shot this summer in some of the most unique and diverse terrain Southern California has to offer, this video is a friendly reminder that skateboarding has no rules or limitations.    

NET WORTH VS NET GOOD

NET WORTH VS NET GOOD

 

 

 

 

 

Concrete Wave has been covering Carver’s unique trucks since 1999. Their appeal isn’t just for skaters, they are firmly rooted in surfing. It was this connection to the ocean that led to an inspired collaboration with Bureo. NET 

Who is Bureo you might ask? They are a company that makes skateboards out of recycled fishing nets.  I sat down with David Stover one of its founding members, along with Carver’s head of marketing, Peter Shu to find out more.

 

Carver has collaborated in the past with Loaded to create the Poke. But this collaboration was different for a number of reasons. “This is one of the first philanthropic partnerships we’ve done” says Peter. “We are using sustainable materials and we know it’s truly a unique collaboration.”

 “The initial idea of the two companies working together came about by Greg Falk and Neil Carver (founders and partners of Carver) who contacted me via email” explains David. “Greg was quite impressed with the idea and had heard about through an artist friend.” Fishnets to skateboards is definitely an idea that grabs your attention but it quite a bit of time to develop. The problem of fishnets polluting the world’s oceans is absolutely massive. There are thousands of tons of fishnets that get lost at sea. These nets trap fish and attract scavengers like sharks that also get trapped. By reclaiming these nets Bureo hopes to inspire people to think about what kind of ecological footprint they are leaving. Just Google “ghost fishing” to get an idea of how devastating the problem of lost nets is for the world’s oceans.

 

Bureo launched their first model – The Minnow in 2014. The collaboration builds on the fish theme with the introduction of the AHI. The deck features the same “gill-like” traction top as the Minnow, but there are now three areas that users can apply custom griptape. “The AHI is actually modelled after one of Carver’s best-selling templates” says Peter. “We didn’t just take something we already had – we customized things and added things like concave.” Both Peter and David were quick to point out that the key element in creating the AHI was performance. The plastic is as rigid as any wooden deck you’d ride and the kicktail and slightly upturned nose keep your feet firmly in place.

​While the fishing nets are recycled from Chile, the decks are made in America.  The same goes with the wheels, trucks and all the other components. The key thing about Carver is their attention to detail and how much they focus on top-quality components. This was born out by the trip I took to their El Segundo offices. “The nuts on the trucks are highest grade you can find” Peter proudly tells me.

 

Over the past several years, plastic skateboards have taken a huge part of the market share from traditional wood companies. And yet plastic cruisers have also brought in a brand new set of customers. David feels the functionality and performance of the AHI separates from the typical plastic decks on offer.  “You can set up cones and work on your moves and get better” says David. “The sustainability component  also helps to differentiate the AHI.”

 

As anyone who has braved the traffic of the greater Los Angeles area will tell you, traffic can be a nightmare. Mercifully, the Carver and Bureo offices are located within five miles of each other. The teams spent a lot of time testing prototypes and discussing ways to improve the offering.​

“We really enjoyed testing the prototypes with the Carver team and having such a solid and knowledgeable sounding board throughout the development of the AHI” says David. “It’s always fun to know how much went into the project and then see the response from the riders and watch them rip through a few turns!

Bureo started the recycling program with one fishing community in Chile and this has since expanded to 15 locations. To date, Bureo has recycled about 100 tons of material which translates in over 200,000 pounds of fishing nets. “As we get traction we are aiming to set up similar partnerships with communities” says David. “We are also hoping to work with the automotive, building and furniture industries.”

 

In honor of the release of the AHI, Concrete Wave is giving away one complete set up.

In 100 words or less, we’d like to read your thoughts about ghost fishing.  The best answer (as judged by Carver and Bureo) will be awarded a complete.

Please submit your entry by September 30 to mbrooke@interlog.com

Thane Store

Thane Store

When we received an email from Sam Wolff of the Thane Store, we had no idea that it would kick off a whole other discussion about how small brands can market their wares.
If you have a small skate company, or you are thinking about starting one, you might want to look at Direct PB.
 

What kind of role can Direct PB play for up and coming skate companies?

Sam Wolff: Thane Store, and our parent company Direct Premium Buys, put a lot of focus on new and small companies. We look for opportunities that others haven’t noticed, and we try to help them get noticed through our site and social media. Phil and I noticed early on as skaters that there is an endless sea of gear out there, and more brands coming out all the time. Despite that, all our friends were riding stuff from the same 4 or 5 brands. That’s not necessarily bad, those top American brands make great stuff, but eventually we saw many of the new companies going under before we got to try the gear. We saw an opportunity to make an impact and provide some resources to those skaters brave enough to act on their ideas and innovate.

Some of the resources that Direct Premium Buys can provide include wholesale, distribution, and fulfillment so that they can get onto even more shelves. Our idea is to create a market for the product in the US first, and then get it into the hands of retail stores around the country. We use our background in eCommerce and logistics to offer consulting, product photography, and marketing strategy services to these companies as well. 

 

 

Many people have great ideas for companies but find it challenging to get their product into shops – do you see your company as an incubator?

Getting into shops these days gets harder and harder as more people flock towards what’s popular. You have to have everything in place… trademarks, patents, shipping, branding, word-of-mouth exposure, consistent manufacturing. If anything is lacking, a shop that may see less than a hundred visitors a day couldn’t justify the risk of the initial investment. That’s where we come in. If you have a good product, we’ll store it, mail it, promote it, try it, review it, and show you what we know works for getting it into more skater’s hands. Granted, not every egg in the incubator hatches. But when a baby bird leaves the nest, it’s a great feeling.

 

What are some of your success stories?

I think our biggest accomplishments so far is our line up of international brands. Before, if a customer wanted to try a product from say, the UK, they would need to pay expensive shipping costs to get that product into the US. Needless to say, this discourages a lot of would-be customers. We’re giving these companies the ability to sell directly to the US market, without incurring high costs of shipping on their end, and to the customer as well. We’ve got wheels from places like Malaysia, South Africa, the UK, and Israel all under one roof, and to us, that’s a huge accomplishment. 

 

How do you determine what brands to carry? 

As much as we want to pick up every new brand we find and have a massive selection, it’s challenging logistically. Some brands have unreasonable expectations. We have to balance our safe bets with our risks like every other company, but we know our fan base is different and they’re down to try something out. So we look for what people are saying about the product. If we can get our hands on it, we try it out. If not, we assess what we can find out online, make an order and give a set to the team to pass around. Importing a box of wheels from across the world is expensive, and it doesn’t always sell right away, but we feel that it’s worth it if we can get our scene riding on new, underrated stuff and finding new ways to have fun skating.

 

 

What’s your current take on the overall skate market?

The skate market isn’t like other markets, as DPB has definitely learned. The same principles don’t apply, you have to think like a skater to sell to skaters. The market right now, as we’ve all noticed, it’s sort of plateauing after the explosion of downhill in the last 5 years. I think dramatic shifts like S9 changing hands and the whole Arbor thing have people a little nervous, but from what I can see, stoke is still high. It’s easier said than done, but the American scene especially needs more accessible events, safe places to skate like Kamloops, and riders that won’t judge you for riding a certain way or not being good enough. We need more skating for the sake of it, and less fiending for sponsorships and status. The companies that put their efforts into these areas while producing consistently great gear will make it through to the next huge wave of hype. It will come. Stay stoked.